On Wednesday against Paris Saint-Germain, Jose Mourinho started winger Andre Schurrle up front on his own and the Blues were drawing 1-1 with just over a third of the game to go. Then he brought on Fernando Torres for Schurrle, and the wheels came off in Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mourinho has backtracked on those comments. When asked about Torres’ future at Chelsea, the Portuguese manager was adamant his Spanish striker is still in his plans at Stamford Bridge.
“Obviously we want him to score more goals. But does he have a future? Yes.” Mourinho said. “During his period at the club he has had moments, some of them important moments. He works hard for the team and brings things to the team. He is contracted and a good professional.”
Earlier on this campaign I asked Mourinho about Torres’ importance to the team ethic, and he waxed lyrical about his hard work and perseverance up front, even if he doesn’t score as many goals as in previous seasons for Atletico Madrid and Liverpool. But that is a running theme for Mourinho’s strikers, as Torres has scored four times in the Premier League this season, Samuel Eto’o has scored eight and Demba Ba has scored three times. Just 13 of Chelsea’s 62 league goals have come from their forwards, with the Blues relying heavily on Eden Hazard, Oscar and other attacking midfielders.
Torres is adored by many of Chelsea’s fans for his work-rate and ability to lead the line with power and pace. However even the most ardent Chelsea fan would admit the 30-year-old’s scoring record since he joined for $75 million back in 2011 has been abysmal, with 44 goals in 164 matches for the Blues.
With many predicting Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani and other top strikers will turn up at Chelsea this summer, it seems that for the foreseeable future Mourinho has put his trust in Torres.
The field is set for the fourth round of the FA Cup, as Newcastle United, Liverpool, and Southampton joined 29 other teams in the fourth round.
Newcastle United 2-1 Birmingham City
Matt Ritchie scored twice and Yoan Gouffran also scored as the Magpies clinched a trip to third-tier side Oxford United. David Cotterill scored in the 71st minute to provide an interesting finish, but Newcastle weathered the storm.
Jurgen Klopp chose another youth-heavy lineup, but a pair of Premier League vets got the job done for the winner. Philippe Coutinho assisted Lucas Leiva‘s 18th mintue goal to give the Reds a home date with Wolverhampton.
Divock Origi had a late penalty saved by Luke McCormick, but it didn’t come back to haunt the Reds.
Southampton 1-0 Norwich City
Saints got a much-needed albeit ugly win when Shane Long won a tussle in the box to score a stoppage time winner. Southampton will host Arsenal in the fourth round.
Derby County vs. Leicester City
January 28 Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Oxford United vs. Newcastle United
Lincoln City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea vs. Brentford
Rochdale vs. Huddersfield Town
Burnley vs. Bristol City
Blackburn vs. Blackpool
Middlesbrough vs. Accrington Stanley
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City
Southampton vs. Arsenal
Millwall vs. Watford
Fulham vs. Hull City
Sutton United vs. Leeds United
“Jermaine is a winner who has experience in MLS and playing against the highest competition in the world,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach Curt Onalfo. “He has a relentless engine on the field and we are confident that he will strengthen our midfield. We look forward to him joining the Galaxy as we prepare for the upcoming season.”
When healthy, Jones remains a game changer at the MLS level. He was not healthy often during his season in Colorado, but the Rapids did not lose a regular season game in which he hit the pitch.
Given the amount of buzz surrounding Lyon’s supposed interest in Memphis Depay, it’s no surprise this one got done.
The Ligue 1 side has agreed to buy the Manchester United winger for a fee that will range between $20 and $27 million. Reports claim the Red Devils have both buy back and sell-on clauses inserted in the deal.
Memphis was purchased for approximately $30 million from PSV Eindhoven in May 2015. That was hot on the heels of a 22-goal season that paced the Eredivisie.
After scoring two goals for United in his second appearance for the club, Memphis managed just 7 in 45 appearances. He hasn’t scored in seven matches this season.
Memphis has 27 caps with five goals for the Netherlands, and it’s hard to imagine he won’t reinforce his status with a prolific spell in France.
Lyon is fourth in the Ligue 1 table, eight behind third place PSG and 11 points back of leaders Monaco and Nice. The club is in the Round of 32 for the French Cup, and meets AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa League.